Common Cause is proud to announce that the major Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor have signed a People’s Pledge to discourage often negative and sometimes undisclosed outside spending in the primary election. Clay Pell, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras have signed a Rhode Island People’s Pledge that goes into effect immediately and lasts through the Democratic gubernatorial primary election on September 9th, 2014.
“This represents a watershed moment in Rhode Island politics,” says John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, “and we are proud to have facilitated this historic agreement and want to thank the campaigns of the three major Democratic candidates for working together to get this agreement done.” The Rhode Island People’s Pledge is modeled after an agreement used in the 2012 Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senate contest in Massachusetts. Research by Common Cause Massachusetts shows the People’s Pledge successfully reduced outside spending in the race and resulted in fewer negative advertisements than similar elections.
“As the U.S. Supreme Court continues to dismantle our campaign finance system,” Marion continues, “candidates need to take it upon themselves to fight the negative, undisclosed SuperPAC spending unleashed by Citizens United, and the People’s Pledge is our best hope.” Under the People’s Pledge whenever an outside group spends to support or oppose a candidate in the primary by purchasing TV, radio or internet advertisements the candidate that benefits pays a fine equal to the amount of the purchase to a charity.